The best road bikes under £2,500 are insanely good these days. Where once this price range was the sole preserve of racers, you now have a huge choice that includes sportive and endurance bikes, disc brakes (or not), and race bikes too. Read on for our round-up of the best bikes under £2,500.
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Finding the right bike for you
The best bikes in this category tend to be the all-rounders that can take a decent stab at everything.
Think lightweight frames that offer all-day comfort for those sportive riders chasing fast times but which will also hold their own on your local chaingang.
These are bikes that aim for the sweet spot between stiffness, comfort and weight whilst keeping prices within reach of the enthusiast.
More specialist models such as featherweight climbing machines or aero-optimised rigs feature, but the compromises made to bring them into this price range will usually be bigger than the small advantages their specialisation can bestow.
Also, bear in mind that the type of riding the term ‘all-rounder’ encompasses is widening with the emergence of gravel/all-road bikes.
And for this price you can expect to find bikes carrying a lot of worthwhile kit, including thru-axles and quality hydraulic disc brakes.
Whichever bike you choose, the good news is that if you’re spending this sort of money you’re unlikely to be disappointed with your purchase.
You could certainly spend a lot more on a bike if the urge takes you, but over £2,500 the margins for improvement get smaller and smaller while the prices get a lot bigger.
This article was updated in October 2017.
Canyon Ultimate CF SL Disc 9.0
- Price: £2,129
- Disc racer offering huge value for money
- Stiff responsive frameset is comfy thanks to flexy VCLS seatpost
Canyon offers both a class-leading spec and a seriously good ride with the Ultimate.
Ribble R872 Ultegra Di2
- Price: £2,472
- Customisable spec offers big value for money
- Slightly firm but snappy ride
Ribble’s bikes always get the nod for value, and the R872 continues the tradition with a competitive spec for the price.
Although the frame is not as accomplished as some of the big brand competition, it’s stiff and racy enough to reward.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc Ultegra
- Price: £2,500
- Disc version of Cannondale’s second-tier racer is super stiff and composed
- Ultegra shifting and Mavic Aksium Disc wheels
We love Cannondale’s SuperSix EVO HiMod, but the regular EVO offers a very similar ride for a lot less cash.
This is a bike that loves to go fast thanks to super sharp, rock-steady handling.
It’s definitely a racer, but clever frame design and a super skinny seatpost absorb road vibrations effectively.
The spec is on par with the competition, with Shimano Ultegra 6800 derailleurs, non-series RS685 levers, Cannondale’s own cranks and decent Mavic Aksium Disc wheels.
The more expensive 2018 model gets Shimano’s latest Ultegra R8020 hydraulic groupset.
BMC Roadmachine RM02 105
- Price: £2,499
- Performance all-rounder is half racer, half endurance machine
- Brilliant ride means we can forgive the so-so spec and unremarkable weight
It’s a speedy road-going thing with bigger tyre clearances than a conventional race bike, and mounts for mudguards too.
The weight is on the high side for the money and the lumpy RS505 levers won’t be to all tastes, but the Roadmachine more than makes up for it with a brilliant ride and geometry that’s spot-on.
Boardman Elite Endurance SLR Disc 9.2
- Price: £2,199
- Racy disc-equipped carbon that’s fit for long distances
- Big spec mixes Shimano Dura-Ace, FSA and non-series hydraulics
Boardman always scores highly for value, and the Endurance SLR is no exception with a full carbon frameset matched to some choice components.
Shifting is from Shimano’s outgoing (but still brilliant) Dura-Ace 9000 derailleurs, matched to very nice non-series RS685 levers.
The cranks are super-light FSA items, while the wheels are middling own-brand ones.
The Boardman offers a great balance between stiffness and suppleness, and it’s pretty light too.
Dolan Titanium ADX
Price: £2,198 (as reviewed)
- Titanium endurance machine with a massive, customisable spec
- Lively ride with added practicality
Titanium has a timeless quality to it and the Dolan puts this premium metal to particularly good use.
The ADX is an outstanding all-rounder that manages to be exciting and lively, but not overly aggressive.
It’s practical too, with mudguard mounts as standard.
We reviewed the ADX with Ultegra 6800, but the latest version of the bike gets Shimano’s latest Ultegra R8000 groupset, along with internal cabling.
Specs can be customised to some extent, or you can roll your own with a frameset. There’s even a disc version...
Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra
- Price: £2,000
- Buy the 2017 Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra now from Evans Cycles
- Buy the 2018 Cannondale CAAD12 Disc Ultegra now from Evans Cycles
- Classy looks and comfortable ride
- Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and hydraulic brakes
- Instant response to pedalling and steering inputs
The CAAD12 is up there with the best alloy frames and it looks very tidy in its disc incarnation.
Despite the metal frame, the CAAD12 is lighter than some of the carbon competition and it’s on par in ride quality terms too, offering fantastic all-round performance.
The spec is pretty good too, with Shimano Ultegra, RS685 levers, Mavic Aksium Disc wheels, and Cannondale's own very cool Hollowgram SI cranks with SpideRing one-piece chainrings.
Lapierre Xelius SL600
- Price: £2,300
- Pro-ridden, lightweight frame with head-turning looks
- Springy rear end
- Smart component selection that includes Zipp, Fizik and Mavic parts
Lapierre’s outlandish looking Xelius is a proper racer with all the modern trimmings (apart from discs!).
The funky rear-end adds a huge amount of compliance and while stiffness isn’t exceptional, the all-round balance is extremely likeable.
With Shimano Ultegra and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, the spec is hard to fault too.
Wilier Triestina GTR SL
- Price: £2,399
- Buy the 2017 Wilier GTR SL (Endurance version) from Chain Reaction Cycles
- Buy the 2017 Wilier GTR SL (Race version) from Wiggle
- Not a game-changer but a very nice bike nevertheless
- Proven component spec
- Impressive ride, especially over rough roads
Available in both ‘race’ and ‘endurance’ versions (the geometry changes), the GTR SL is a thoroughly nice bike with no high-tech pretensions.
The ride is smooth and composed, and the Ultegra and Mavic spec is unremarkable but entirely adequate.
- Price: £2,250
- Carbon disc road machine designed for all weathers and rough roads
- Fat tyres plus the option to run guards
The Wessex is aimed squarely at the typical UK road rider, with clearances for big rubber by road standards and the option to run proper mudguards.
It’s not a particularly light bike, but it’s a smooth ride with direct power transfer that rewards hard efforts.
Rose Xeon CWX-3000
- Price: £2,395
- Aero meets discs in an eye-catching package
- Rapid and racy, but firm ride
With TT-bike looks and hydraulic discs, the Xeon is meant for both going and stopping quickly.
It’s a firm but communicative ride with a great all-round spec that gets the small stuff (bars, tyres) right alongside the big ticket items.
Ridley Fenix SL Ultegra
- Price: £2,299
- Assertive ride is firm but smooth
- Super stiff chassis rewards powerful riders
Meant for crushing cobbles at speed, the Fenix SL doesn’t cosset you like some endurance bikes, but it does manage to be impressively smooth.
Ridley gives you a full Ultegra groupset and modest Fulcrum Racing 7 clinchers, a good, if not exceptional spec.
Sensa Giulia G2 Disc
- Price: £2,399
- Solid Ultegra and hydraulic spec for the money
- Super stiff carbon frame offers great power transfer, but firmish ride
The Giulia G2 Disc gets a generous Ultegra-based spec along with decent DT Swiss R24 Spline db wheels
An ultra-stiff frame makes for efficient pedalling. It’s not a buzzy ride, but the Giulia is best suited to smoother roads where it doesn’t skitter around.
Fuji Gran Fondo 2.1
- Price: £2,300
- Super smooth riding endurance bike with relaxed road geometry and optional mudguard mounts
- Shimano Ultegra with hydraulic discs
If covering miles in maximum comfort is the goal, the relaxed Gran Fondo is just the ticket.
Fuji gives you Ultregra shifting kit, non-series hydraulic levers and finishing kit from in-house brand Oval.
The Gran Fondo isn’t necessarily the most thrilling machine and it’s not at all racy, but it’s a very pleasant ride with a bit of versatility thrown in for good measure.
Cube Litening C:62 Disc
- Price: £2,499
- Hard-edged disc racer that delights on smooth tarmac
- Ultegra-based build, plus RS685 levers and Mavic Aksium wheels
Cube’s Litening takes no prisoners with a hard ride and an unapologetically aggressive position, but if that suits you it’s a compelling choice with a solid spec.
The Litening gets Ultegra shifting, top-notch non-series RS685 levers and those ubiquitous Mavic Aksium Disc wheels.
GT Grade Carbon 105
- Price: £2,000
- Fast on the road and fun when you venture off it
- Great components
- Flared bars allow maximum control
The quirky Grade is more all-road than road bike, with features that make it suitable for rougher surfaces than more conventional machines.
Flared bars offer lots of control on bumpy descents, while spindly stays soak up vibration.
The spec is a little less generous than some bikes at this price point, but the Grade opens up new realms of riding and rarely fails to reward.
Lapierre Aircode SL 600 FDJ CP
- Price: £2,300
- Rock-solid frame stiffness suitable for sprinting
- 25mm-wide Mavic tyres and carbon seatpost help to soften the ride
- Long, low riding position
The Aircode SL sheds weight from its predecessor, but Lapierre says that frame stiffness and ride quality remain unchanged.
It’s a somewhat firm ride, but there’s no buzz or chatter and handling is spot-on, with a long and low position that racers will appreciate.
With Ultegra shifting, a Zipp cockpit and Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels, there’s a lot to like here.